Five Challenges Primary Care Doctors Are Facing Right Now
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Primary care is an important part of the healthcare system because it helps to prevent complications and hospitalizations by intervening early. Primary care physicians, on the other hand, face a number of challenges. These issues must be addressed in order to preserve the quality and benefits that primary care can offer.
These challenges may appear difficult to tackle, but they also provide opportunities for doctors to improve patient care by providing online health management solutions, better understanding and targeting the patients they serve, improving communication and education, and leveraging technology.
Continue reading to learn about some of the most pressing issues confronting doctors today.
Physician shortage looms
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) predicts a physician shortage of 46,900 to 121,900 by 2032, with a primary care shortage of 21,100 to 55,200. When there is a physician shortage, practices are put under strain as existing physicians take on increased workloads. According to the AAMC, the primary care shortage corresponds with projected increases in the number of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and physician assistants (PAs), as well as an expansion of their role in care delivery.
Taking care of the chronically ill
According to a new Commonwealth Fund survey, nearly a quarter of primary care doctors in the United States believe they are unprepared to care for patients with multiple chronic illnesses. Despite having a younger population than many other developed countries, the United States has a higher proportion of patients who have multiple chronic conditions. At least one chronic disease, such as heart disease and stroke, cancer, or diabetes, affects six out of ten Americans. These and other chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States, as well as a significant contributor to healthcare costs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, treating chronic disease patients accounts for 86% of our country's healthcare costs (CDC).
Improving communication with patients and other providers
According to the Commonwealth Fund survey, only one in three primary care doctors mentioned that they were notified when a patient was discharged from the hospital or seen in an emergency department. Patients can be frustrated and confused by a lack of care coordination and communication, which can lead to readmissions. With PatientMD bidirectional chat and unified messaging, doctors can improve communication with their patients.
Using technology to engage patients
In 2022, digital health tools that influence patient engagement will remain a hot topic. The global internet of things (IoT) in healthcare market, which was worth $56.1 billion in 2017, is expected to expand at a CAGR of 30.2 percent from 2018 to 2023, reaching $267.6 billion. The wearables industry was worth nearly $23 billion in 2018, as per GlobalData, and is projected to grow at a 19 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to $54 billion by 2023. Doctors must consider how to keep patients actively engaged with health-improving technology.Providers strive to improve the quality of care they deliver as the healthcare industry continues to focus on patient-centered care, with PatientMD blogs and educational videos that can help patients better understand and manage their own health.
Burnout was most common in urology, affecting 54% of physicians. Family medicine physicians were not far behind, with 46% suffering from burnout. It was least common in ophthalmology (30%) and public health and preventive medicine (29%), at the time of the study.
Over the last five years, family medicine has been one of the top specialties affected by the condition. According to the Medscape study, increased computerization was a top cause of burnout across specialties, with 30 percent of physicians citing the EHR as a cause. It was followed by bureaucratic tasks (55%), long hours (33%), and a "lack of respect" from employers, colleagues, and staff (32%).
Partner With A Trusted Adviser
Technology continues to offer online health management solutions for primary care practices. Many people have turned to telehealth, patient messaging, and other digital health options in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Primary care practices must keep up with patient needs and adapt to changing guidelines while keeping the bottom line in mind. Many people have found success by working with a trusted adviser and technology partner like PatientMD, an AI-driven Digital Health Platform that provides patient engagement solutions and digital marketing services to help doctors make the transition to a value-based care system more effectively. Interested in learning more about how PatientMD can help doctors overcome the challenges? Just text us at +18727048154.